Writerly Questions with June Kramin

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

Today I have June Kramin discussing her mystery/suspense novel, Hunter’s FindThis e-book hit the shelves on February 3rd, and is published by the Melpomene Imprint.  

June Kramin was born in Philadelphia, but moved to Maui when she was four. She met her husband on Kauai, and is now living in Southern Minnesota on a hobby farm. June considers her son and daughter as her greatest accomplishments and takes pride in embarrassing them every chance she gets.

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
Never underestimate a woman wanting revenge.

*L0L* I should say not! How long did it take you to write this book?
This one was a little over a month. Hunt and Mandy knew what they were doing – even if I didn’t.

 That is pretty quick, I can’t imagine being able to write a novel in such a short amount of time. I am guessing you didn’t go through very many drafts?
I always only work straight though on one copy. I let the story run where it may, and go back to fix anything that may have veered off course or taken a new turn making it better!

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
I usually kick on in the afternoon. I take mornings to get social networking, blogging, pimping and odd jobs done before I can settle in to a routine of writing. The exception is if I’m on a major roll and really know where things are going. I try not to write in the evenings if I can help it. That’s family time.

Family is definitely important. I suppose since your kids know they have time with you after “work” they wouldn’t try to get your attention when you’re writing. Do you have a favorite place to write?
I don’t have the luxury of a designated escape place. I usually key away standing up with an empty paper box to make my work desk taller. LOL! I was scolded to not sit so much during the day by my chiropractor. That’s the best I could do 🙂

I’ve been to a chiropractor before, I totally understand why you woudl do what you’re told! Just what is it that is sitting on top of the box on your desk: a typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
Laptop. I could never write it out by hand. I can barely read notes I scribble to myself when an idea hits when it’s not on.

You and me both *shakes head* I can never read anything I’ve written later. Since you have such an unusual writing-surface arrangement, do you drink or eat while you write or is it too awkward?
Boring, but I’m just a water drinker. I’ve never been a fan of soda and know better than to “drink” & write 😉 No designated snack either. I’m a fan of food. Period. If it’s there – keep your hands out of the way or you’ll pull back a bloody stump.

Ouch! That sounds a bit painful… What about music, do you listen to anything when you’re in the writing-zone?
I need total silence when I write. If I have anything on – I’ll sing along. LOL

I’m known for singing along to the radio myself, I hope you have a better voice that I do 🙂 So you’re standing there by your desk and munching away, what do you wear when you write?
Now you’re making me spill it. I get most of my writing done on free time at work. I’m in jeans and a Tshirt –nothing fancy about what I do. If I’m home I’m in lounge pants no matter what. Come to think of it – I could wear the lounge pants to work and I don’t think anyone would care or notice!

Do you have any other writing rituals?
For all my quirks I can honestly say I don’t have anything that would count as a ritual. We gave our chickens away so there is nothing left to sacrifice and I think the great muses of writing have stopped watching my “uh huh, that’s right, you’re bad” dance long ago (bad meaning awesome of course 😉 ).

I am sure those chickens are very greatful, but the muses probably got a kick out of your dancing! Delving a little deeper into your actual writing process, how do you plot? Is it chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis, and do you use detailed outlines?
Plot? I laugh in your general direction. I am the first to admit I never have a clue where I’m going. Usually a single thought sparks two characters and I let them run the show from there. I write what they tell me until it’s time to log off. The next day I read back a page or two and continue. I almost always write in order; sometimes I go back and add a chapter but it’s rare. I know it’s not for everyone but it’s what works for me –freakish as it may be.

Do your characters also choose their own names or do you choose them?
A few have been people I met in passing and I loved their names. Bix, for example, in Double Mocha, Heavy on Your Phone Number was an errand boy picking up something for his boss at my work. I knew I had to use it. I have always loved girl’s names with guy nicknames so I tend to go with those a lot.

And how do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
The first books I wrote were narrated. I liked that everyone knew what was going on and what everyone was thinking. That worked for Middle Grade, but not so much for Women’s Fiction. I have very distinct ideas of who is acting up and who is watching them do what they do. I’ll float between the two main character POV’s, depending on who is going to say it better. I have one novel my publisher wants to turn first person. That’s going to be a challenge for me.

I can imagine that will be quite a major undertaking, I hope it goes well! Rewrites aside, who is the first person to read your manuscript?
I always send off my manuscripts to three people: A great friend, my future daughter-in-law, and an aunt. They are all ravenous for books and hit the 20, 40, and 60 year old market. When they all love it I know I have a hit.

That is a pretty awesome arrangement, I must say! It couldn’t have been a huge surprise when you heard you would be published with those three backing you 😉 Seriously though, what did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
That was for Dustin Time and I remember it well. After reading the e-mail four times, I went outside to find my husband and make him read it so I was sure I wasn’t mistaken. After that, I called the above three beta readers to spread the word. Next I called my parents, then squeed everywhere from my writing forum to facebook. It still took each step of the way to make it feel more real. The cover, the edits, saying it was “e”, then finally when my print order showed up.

If that was hard to believe, imagine your reaction if you were just told your book were to become a movie! Is there anyone who you would like to see star in it should your novel be optioned?
I stopped playing that game. I wrote a series a few years back. It’s still under lock and key waiting to be beaten into shape. I picked Heath Ledger to play Marshall. It absolutely broke my heart when he died and now I feel no one else will be the perfect guy. I won’t do that again 😦

I was devastated when I heard the news myself. Heath Ledger was such an amazing actor, he would have done some truly great things had his career been longer. Speaking of things past but in books, what is the first book you remember reading?
I can’t even say. Too many years of reading kid’s books with my son and daughter to know what was my memory or theirs. I do remember my third grade teacher reading us The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. That was probably my first “wow…taken away to another land” book.

How about something a little more recent then. What book is on your nightstand right now?
My Nook! It’s filled with books from my three publishing houses just waiting to woo me! There is just something about reading books by people you have a personal connection with that can’t be beaten.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
No, I’m boring. I only read friends books, so I don’t have one I go back to time and again. My only exception is John Sanford and William Kent Krueger. I did break down and pick up The Hunger Games, but that’s it for anything popular. I love to hear when someone loves something so much they read it over and over. I’m both happy and sad I won’t have that luxury. Dang talented friends!

You love e-books and print books, how do you organize your library/book collection?
I have yet to organize shelves on my Nook, I need to do that. For my old paperbacks I had to have hubby build me two shelving units and I sort them by author. Before my Absolute Write Days, I had a few I tended to stick to.

Husband have to be good for something! Aside from his masterful woodworking skills, he must be very supportive of your writing career. Did you always want to be a writer?
It actually wasn’t a lifelong dream of mine. I was told by my 3rd & 11th grade teachers that I would be one, though. I let life take over and I just never took time to jot down stories or ideas. A lot of things are coming out now though. Everyone says they have one book in them… Apparently I have twelve and counting.

I hope that is true, because I would love to have just one book published someday. But if there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
I did write it. It was something I needed to do for closure on something that happened when I was a teen. Everything else came easy to me –this one is taking a few years. I’m beating it into submission still, not feeling like it will ever be ready. I need to brave up and get it out there. No, I’m not giving away the title.

That is not fair, you can’t just leaving us hanging like that can you? 
Yes, I’m a brat.

I guess all we can do is hope someday you do publish that book, as I’m sure it will be just as cathartic for your readers. Since you wrote the book you wished to have written, how about if you could talk to any writer living or dead.  Who would it be and what would you ask/talk about?
Pfft. I talk to writers every day. They’re weird. I’m in good company. 😉

If writers are weird, I bet you won’t think my next question is odd. If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Probably Weather from John Sanford’s Prey series because then I’d have Lucas Davenport all to myself and get to flirt with Virgil &^%$ing Flowers!

Gotta love flirt-worthy characters! Other than Virgil coming to life, what is the best gift someone could give a writer?
A table at the front door of a Barnes & Noble!

And what is the best advice someone could give a writer?
I’ve always been a fan of write, write, write –go back & edit later.

Just one more question, a random thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m insane? Wait… They know that. No one sees it unless I want them to (or if I have a drink or six), but I have a “tramp stamp” of a Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.  Look it up 🙂

 Previous Interviews: JLA InterviewPeter Lukes InterviewKarenKSamoranos Interview

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Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

8 thoughts on “Writerly Questions with June Kramin”

  1. Good answers, June. I found myself nodding to many and answering others. Good luck with Hunter’s Find, which I’ve read, and enjoyed. Interesting to hear you don’t know about plot — mine often lead me, too.

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  2. Oh, man, you wrote a book in a month! Pat, pat, pat on the back for you! Great getting to know you better, June. Best of luck with your publishing ventures! Cheers!

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